WOMEN AND THE CITY
MUMBAI FOR WOMEN BY THE TIMES OF INDIA
(Refer 1:21 – 1:26 of video)
Aani aapun kaibhi kaam karo naahi
(And no housework waiting for me)
Asaa noostt bassoon, garam garam jevaa-oo
(I will relax and enjoy my meal)
The giggle is girlish and the attire is traditional but the words serve to highlight the truth of women’s position in this city.
The sub-text is : go out and earn, we need you to earn. Go, work as hard as the next man or harder. But when you come back home, you are the wife, the homemaker. Go on, go into the kitchen and cook the dinner. And after that, take care of the housework.
Who cares that you might be earning more than the man? Who cares that the travel in crowded buses and trains with the sickening groping and pressing has aggravated you mentally and physically? Who cares that you are judged on the way you look? Who cares that you want, nay, need the time and the privacy to be just yourself and with yourself; that for some time, you want freedom from the MSD (Mother/Daughter/Sister) Syndrome or the Superdomesticgoddesswoman Syndrome?
This also brings forth the truth that the enemy is within rather than some unseen, unknown, outer foe that could attack you anytime.
One of the enemies is the self-limiting thoughts so steeped in tradition, that keep a woman chained to her situation.
Why else would a highly educated woman in a highly paid job not operate an independent bank account and continue to depend upon her husband/partner to decide where and how her earnings should be invested?
Why else would a woman go all out to take care of her husband and children’s well-being to make sure they eat the best foods and get the best medical care if required but neglect her own health and diet?
Why else would she be unwilling to request her partner to share the burden of the housework and the cooking so she can also enjoy some soul-rejuvenating time?
Why else would a woman submit to the physical assaults of her husband and camouflage the scars next day with makeup and made-up excuses?
Why would a woman not take up a profession of choice just because it is considered ‘unsafe’ for her?
Isn’t it time to SPEAK UP, Woman?
It’s time to find your identity in Mumbai, your own city. It’s time to demand safety and security for yourself, whether you are at home or at work; whether you are taking the public transport or whether you are just going for a walk; whether it is 2am or whether it is 9:30pm, whether you are dressed in a sari or a short skirt.
Respect and safety are your rights and you should have them.
Light is penetrating through and the powers that be are giving an ear to women’s woes.
The Railways, which are the lifeblood of Mumbai City, have shown that they care. Their helpline which covers all three rail-lines is 9833331111 and it works.
Can women in the city expect the same respect, love, care and consideration firstly from the men in their families and then the services?
There is hope. Always.